A good fitness routine helps keep you vital and can prevent threats to women’s health, like heart disease and diabetes. But did you know that certain exercises can actually improve the way a women’s body works? These are the type of moves you might not see at the gym. But done regularly in the privacy of your own home, they can strengthen you from the inside out, and even help overcome common women’s issues like Light Bladder Leakage (LBL).
Of course, LBL doesn’t have to bring your workout to a halt. Poise Thin-Shape Pads*are perfect for dryness, comfort and odor control before, during and after you exercise. Leaks don’t have to slow you down!
Womensforum and Poise® have put together five moves to help prevent leaks altogether. So pull on your yoga pants, and get to work strengthening those pelvic muscles.
Just hearing the word “Kegel” makes you involuntarily tighten your pelvic muscles, right? It’s ingrained in our minds that Kegels are beneficial for every woman, but especially after giving birth. According to Prevention.com, up to 70 percent of women with stress incontinence who regularly exercised their pelvic floor experienced improvement. Although you can do them anywhere, here’s a way to take your Kegel to the max.
1) Stand with feet hip-width apart. Say “ha” forcefully, pulling in your lower abs. Hold for 2 seconds and release.
2) Say “ha” again and keep your muscles engaged, this time squeezing as though you’re stopping the flow of urine. Hold for 2 seconds, and release.
Reps: Start with 4-5 twice a day, and gradually increase reps and hold time.
Got your Kegels down pat? Take the next step by engaging your pelvic floor during a bridge, which also works your core and glutes at the same time. Score!
1) Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart.
2) Inhale, engage your pelvic floor and lift your hips until your body is a straight line from knee to shoulders (or as high as you can).
3) Hold for 10 seconds (keep breathing!), lower hips to the floor and release your pelvic floor.
Reps: Start with 5 and work up to 10.
Dead Bug Crunch
This is another one that might earn you strange looks at the gym. But it’s a surefire way to strengthen your core, while protecting the abdominals with a lower-intensity, pelvic-floor-safe exercise, which is vital according to the experts at PelvicFloorFirst.com.
1) Lie on your back with your arms extended straight up toward the ceiling and knees bent at 90 degrees (parallel to the floor).
2) Inhale, engage your pelvic floor, and extend your right arm above your head while you extend your right leg just above the floor. Release pelvic floor and draw arm and leg back to starting position.
3) Repeat with left arm and left leg.
Reps: 10 on each side.
Katy Bowman of Nutritious Movement warns against strengthening your pelvic floor without also lengthening it. Developing a habit of deep squatting (think a yoga Hindi squat), she says, can create a posterior pull on the sacrum and balance the work of the pelvic floor.
1) Stand with feet wider than hip-width apart, toes slightly angled out.
2) Slowly squat as far as you comfortably can while keeping your shins vertical (knees over ankles). Hold for 2-5 seconds, relaxing your pelvic muscles.
3) Exhale as you stand slowly, focusing on your glutes (not quads).
Reps: Start with 5 reps twice a day and gradually increase reps and hold time.
Strong hips and inner thighs help support your core, and in turn, your bladder. So pull out your vintage Thighmaster or simply try this exercise—a perfect pose to move through while watching TV.
1) Lie on your side with your hips stacked and knees bent. Place a hand on the floor in front of you for stability.
2) Keeping your feet together, lift your top leg like a clamshell as far as you can, while contracting your pelvic floor and exhaling lightly.
3) Hold for 2 seconds, return to the starting position and release your pelvic muscles.
Reps: 10 on each side.